Did you know that during the 2014 holiday season there were an estimated 14,500 holiday decorating injuries in the U.S.? Based on data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these numbers continue to increase. The most common injuries are the result of these four causes:
- Ladder falls
- Tree and decoration mishaps
- Candles and fires
- Lights and electrocution
Additionally, there are an average of 130,000 fires reported in December alone, causing about 400 fatalities. In order to avoid fires, accidents and the expense of such incidents in your facility, here are four tips for safe holiday decorating:
- Check the packaging of your lights
The packages of your holiday lights should tell you how many strands can safely connect together. Lights should also be approved by Underwriters Laboratory, with "UL" clearly displayed on the tag. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for both indoor and outdoor use, and green UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor use only. If you are using lights from the previous year, make sure to check for broken or loose sockets, frayed and bared wires, or loose connections.
- Follow ladder safety instructions
Be sure to take a look at the weight capacity and height of each ladder. For best practice, the ladder should be three feet taller than the working surface. Place all ladders on level and firm ground to avoid falls.
- Ensure decorations are safe and secure
When hanging wreaths, ornaments, and other holiday decorations, ensure they are hung securely in place to prevent the risk of injury. Use decorations that are flame-resistant or noncombustible. If your facility puts up an artificial holiday tree, make sure it is labeled as flame-retardant.
- Location, location, location
Be sure to survey the surroundings before choosing where to set up decorations. Are there heat sources nearby? Will the lights be touching fabric or other flammable products? Make sure to avoid heating vents, fireplaces, and curtains when putting up trees and holiday lights.
For more information, please contact GCA Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.